The Important Difference Between Marketing, Selling and Advertising

I’ve heard the same sentence from many small business owners: “I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work for my business”. The practice of advertising is a mystery to most small business owners. For them it’s hard enough trying to perfect the process of doing business with their clients; the acquisition of new clients is a whole other challenge. Most business owners aren’t fully aware of the difference between advertising and marketing.

Let’s take some of the mystery out of the practices.

One of the most misunderstood aspects of the process is the distinctions between: marketing, advertising and selling:

Marketing: is the overall collection of tools used to build your business. Marketing has one overall objective – to drive clients through the process of noticing your business, purchasing from your business, enjoying the products or services of your business successfully enough to tell their friends and family and come back for more if applicable.

Some of the tools of marketing include:

1. Advertising

2. Public Relations

3. Direct Mail

4. Personal Sales

5. Internet

6. Print Promotions

7. Education

Advertising: Advertising doesn’t sell to your audience, it is a tool similar to the male ostrich tail; its job is to get you noticed for the specific things you do well. Advertising promotes the distinguishing features, benefits and advantages of your offer to a wide market. The goal of advertising is to bring in valuable leads for the selling process to take place.

I’ve sold Yellow Page advertising to business owners who initially felt that Yellow Page ads brought a lot of callers who were just shopping around. They didn’t want to waste time with “looky loo’s”.

If someone takes the time to make a phone call or send you an email regarding your product or service, why treat them with disdain? These folks are looking for the right answers to their problems. Even more important, they each know about 250 other people personally. Each opportunity to make a connection or a sale should be treated as equally important.

Selling: Once advertising has attracted the potential buyer, the selling process takes over. This is done either by personal sales or the use of point of purchase materials (ie., a store display, video demonstration etc.). Selling should come into play after a prospect has been determined to be right for the product or service.

The mystery and confusion begins when a business owner must decide what tools to use in the process of client acquisition. To whom should you advertise? Where should you advertise and why? How do you advertise? What kind of return should I expect to make on my advertising program? When do I use the other tools of marketing to bolster my advertising program? What should my ratio be between advertising and selling?

To whom should you advertise? Let’s be very clear about this one. You should never put a single dollar into advertising until you know who you will eventually sell your product or service to. You should not even be in business if you have no clue who you want to do business with.

Marketing is used to identify your ideal market. Sure, you may not get 100% of your ideal market, but if you know who will most likely benefit from what you have to sell or service, you can get more of them.

For example, if you’re a chiropractor in a big city, your ideal market might be the couple in their late 40’s to early 60’s that’re health conscious and active. They are looking to stay fit and are open to CAM’s (Complimentary and alternative medicines.). They may have an unfavorable view of the current healthcare system and wish to take a proactive approach to health maintenance. So let’s say after determining your ideal market, you identify 15,000 of them in your market region. So now you have 15,000 likely prospects to reach on a regular basis.

Where should you advertise and why? If you wanted to find a 34 year old Buddhist from Cambodia where would you look for one? The question may seem a bit silly but you know that you wouldn’t start by going to all the mosques in the area.

Sometimes you do have to eliminate all the unlikely places to search until you get to the most likely ones.

You must, of course choose the targets of your ad programs based on how many of your intended prospects will likely see your message. If the local health club in your area has a demographic membership of over 3,000 45 to 65 year olds, you might want to advertise in their monthly newsletter. If they don’t have a newsletter, you may want to sponsor one for them.

Remember the “The best place to go fishing is where the fish are biting”. Take the time to know about your target audience and their buying habits.

How do you advertise? Imagine that your very expensive Mercedes breaks down and the mechanic says that it’s your fuel pump. He needs to change it so he’s going to take a blow torch and cut through your hood, crack open your engine block and then replace the fuel pump. Once he’s done, he’ll weld all the parts back together and get your vehicle back to you.

Would you give this guy the OK to go to work on your vehicle? Of course you wouldn’t. Once you determine what you need to do, you have to be careful about how you execute the solution.

Coming back to our chiropractor, if he finds that the best way to reach the 15,000 couples ages 45 to 65 in his area is through the Yellow Pages; then he needs to decide if it’s cost effective, timely and competitive.

The goal now is to figure out the best way to reach all or most of those 15,000 ideal prospects.

Will he get comparable results from the repeated exposure in the health club newsletter where he’ll have a captive audience and no competition?

There’s no reason not to use both the Yellow Pages and the health club newsletter if they pull their weight economically. The goal of advertising is to gain valuable leads for the selling process to take place.

What kind of return should I expect to make on my advertising program? My answer to my clients to this question is usually a shocker; the answer is a big fat zero (0). How can a business owner spend so much money on advertising and expect no money in return?

This is the basis of the confusion between marketing, advertising and selling. Advertising’s value in the marketing mix is in lead generation. When properly used as such, the measurement of its effectiveness is in how many leads are generated.

This is why it’s so important to distinguish between the various tools of marketing. If our chiropractor had 20 leads coming in each day from his ad campaign and the front desk had a lousy conversion ratio, I bet that he’d blame his ad for not pulling in more clients.

Gauge your response rate when quantifying advertising results. Measure the number of leads coming in and adjust the ad copy to test for better results.

When do I use the other tools of marketing to bolster my advertising program? Advertising should never be used alone. Please remember that the average adult has to deal with over 2700 messages a day from all types of media.

Marketing should be seen as a combined effort to reach the minds and hearts of your target market. You should be using at least five of the seven tools of marketing every week. Depending on the age of your business and your business plan, you should be budgeting 10 to 15% of your estimated annual revenues for marketing. If you just opened your doors in the last five years, crank that up to 20%. There’s a reason that Pepsi and Coke spend over 400 million a year each to satisfy their shareholders bottom-line.

What should my ratio be between advertising and selling? Think of the relationship between advertising and sales as a complimentary one. If your advertising is generating a large number of leads, tailor your sales strategy to convert at least 30% of your leads while capturing all your leads for systematic follow-ups.

Keep in mind that at any given time, 3% of your market is ready to commit to your product or service. The goal is first to convert the 3% of your leads. Then to work on selling to the ones who are on the fence. Whether through personal sales, direct marketing, or point of purchase sales, your ratio will be determined by several factors, the offer, the product or service and the immediate need of the prospects and of course, price.

Don’t get too anal about the ratios. The most important thing to remember is that marketing is an inexact science. You will have to keep testing and trying for better results as the market changes.

Determine the value of a new client and the life time value of your clients. Once you do that, be sure that your marketing efforts are bringing in enough new business to cover the cost of getting new clients and that your sales efforts cover the cost of keeping you in business.

Tweak the numbers and track consistently. If your estimated marketing budget is $37,500 for the year, and your estimated revenue is $250,000 then you have a standard starting point.

At the end of the year your numbers should add up. If you haven’t made the $250,000 don’t simply blame your advertising, look at your leads list and determine if you’ve converted the required number into sales.

If you don’t have a leads list then we need to re-evaluate your purpose for advertising.

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Using Props in Marketing

When we say the word “advertising”, it means making your business differentiated from the others. This is very clear that advertising is all about being unique and creative. Props have always been an important element to attract and make feel realistic. Props are used in many situations such as in arts, movies or theaters give a real effect. Keeping this reality in mind, different marketing managers of renowned brands agree that the use of props in marketing helps a lot in engaging audience. The basic purpose of using marketing props is that it attracts and grabs the attention of people. This is the reason that top notch brands of the world showing their creativity by using props in their marketing strategy.

Here I am going to describe key methods that can give you an idea that how as a marketing manager you can use props to correctly engage with your target market.

Set Marketing Objective:

The first thing which works as a foundation of your entire marketing strategy is to set your clear objective. This practice helps you to be specific in your goals and plan things subsequently.

Select Relevant Props

The props that you are going to select must be relevant to the marketing message. Make sure that marketing builds your brand image so your choice of props should be perfect and accurate.

Create Connection

The prop that you have selected must be connected logically with your target market. This requires a seamless workflow and clear marketing strategy because if the pros do not match with the advertising theme, it will give an awful experience.

Execute Your Props Campaign

Once you are done with what you have planned for props, advertising campaign, it’s time to execute. Display your ad at different places that you have decided and make sure it is placed in a same way across all targeted points.

Analyze Results

After you have executed your strategy, now you need to closely analyze the results. Assess that to which extent your audience has attached with the props and the message is delivered as you had planned. If it is like that, you are successful in your job and if not then it’s time to go through your plan and find out flaws to correct them.

Advantages of Using Props

Following are a few advantages of using props in marketing or advertising campaign:

Make Memorable

Use of props makes your message looks creative and thus makes it memorable by making it distinguishable from the others.

Create Realistic Thing

This is the primary attribute of a prop that it makes anything look realistic. It gives life to the objects that you have used.. Props are also a part of visual advertising that uses Graphic Design to make it more valuable.

It Grabs Attention

If you use props with creativity, it definitely attracts the people by holding their attention. If you have set the objective of increasing awareness, props can help you a lot.

To Add Fun

Props also help to make your message fun loving by adding life to it. It all depends upon the idea behind the marketing message that how you can use props to create fun.

Point Of Difference

This is the crux of this article hidden in this advantage that props helps to make a point of difference and allowing you to get an edge over your competitors.

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The Little-Known Marketing Secret That Allows You To Write Advertising Homeruns

You remember Sherlock Holmes don’t you? Holmes was the fictional consulting detective invented by Scottish physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes, as you know, is famous for cracking open difficult cases and solving them with almost magical abilities.

So, grab your inspector’s hat and let’s play Sherlock Holmes for just a moment. We’re going to do a little spying today and see if the “Sherlock” in you can turn up a few profit clues lurking all around.

This is the shortest course to the profit-land in this crazy fun business. The direct marketing or “mail order” business as we affectingly call it have a “secret” way of “spying” on the competition. It’s called “seeding.”

Very simply, seeding is where you get on other businesses mailing list

… for the sole purpose of snooping and finding out what’s going on in your selected marketplace.

This does several things for you.

First, you’ll start receiving offers from the company you inquired about plus competing companies. And these offers can be golden to you by seeing exactly who’s mailing what.

You’ll see firsthand what their winners are, how the copy reads, what offers are hot and ideas will start to catch fire.

And if you go the extra yard and actually buy something, you’ll experience firsthand how you were treated, what upsells they offer, and how they run the customer service side of the business.

Simply put, this is one of the best direct marketing educations you can get. And best of all… it won’t cost you a fortune.

Basically, you get a master’s level marketing education for the mere cost of a postage stamp and the time it takes to “sign up.”

Pretty damn cool, right? As my late marketing mentor Melvin Powers once told me, “There are no secrets in the mail order business.”

You’ll be tuned in to ‘real world-real time’ marketing methods and strategies. This is one of the best ways to stay up-to-date with powerful trends and effective marketing that’s cutting edge.

Seeding gives you another huge benefit…

… A swipe file right at your fingertips.

What’s that, you say? Swipe file? YES! Swipe File!

What’s a swipe file? Hey, I’m glad you asked.

A swipe file is a collection of marketing pieces that have a proven history of positive results. These ads are bringing in bucket loads of profits, leads, store visits or whatever action the ad is asking from the customer.

But how do you know if these ads are profitable or not? It’s not really that hard to figure this out… and you don’t have to guess.

If you see a marketing promotion (advertisement, sales letter, squeeze page, etc.) that runs over and over or is mailed over and over, then you’ll know for sure it’s a winner.

Most marketers, especially direct response type businesses loath wasting money. Again, if you see an ad repeated over and over again, you can rest assured that it’s making money for the advertiser.

Once you start building your swipe file you’ll want to see how you’re marketing stacks up to the competition. Ideas gleamed from your swipe file could be used to improve your marketing.

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. In direct marketing (or mail order), you have learned that there are no secrets. Everything is laid out there for you.

And by the way, did I mention swiping is legit… it’s sharply slices a huge portion of the learning curve!

Let me tell you a quick story about one of the most successful, profitable and effective direct marketing promotions to hit during the 20th Century.

It was 1974 and Martin Conroy was commissioned to write a sales letter to sell subscriptions for the Wall Street Journal.

No big deal, right? After all it was only two pages printed front to back… a mere 780-word letter.

But here’s the thing. Did you know that one of the most successful and profitable sales letter ever written…

This super-successful sales letter mailed for 28-years with almost no changes to the original copy. It raked in over an estimated TWO BILLION DOLLARS in gross revenues!

Take one of the most famous copywriting controls, The Wall Street Letter written by the late Martin Conroy. He in fact swiped it from a sales letter written many years before.

So what was the secret to this mega-success letter?

The secret, according to industry insiders, is that Conroy relied on a little-known “trick” to cheat his way to writing the pitch.

It’s helpful to know that Conroy’s letter was not beaten until 2002. It was beaten in two consecutive tests… the first test Conroy’s letter was beaten by less than 10%. The second by a huge 24%.

The second letter was written by copywriting legend Mal Decker.

So, the question is how did Mal Decker come up with a letter to beat the ‘unbeatable’ control?

The answer… again… it’s surprisingly simple… and you my friend can use this ethical “cheat” to produce blockbuster ads, web pages, sales letters, and just about any marketing piece you need to write.

Now I’m not saying its OK for you to straight out copy the ad word for word. Not at all… I’m saying it’s fine to borrow or swipe ideas, concepts and compelling parts that intrigue you and adapt them to your marketing.

Swiping is a great way to infuse new life in old copy and can often lead to more sales and leads.

So start your swipe file today and let the ideas flow.

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PPC Is an Effective Advertising and Marketing Channel for All Internet Based Companies

PPC or Pay per Click is one of the best ways to draw targeted traffic to your websites. Most of the internet marketers use PPC as a part of their online marketing strategies. Even the new websites can expect to draw lot of traffic with PPC advertisements.

Let’s try and understand how.

What Is PPC?

Internet today has become one of the most visible mediums. Marketing and advertising on the internet is very effective due to its immense reach. There are many methods that are employed for this and PPC is one such model.

PPC is an advertising model for the internet where the advertiser pays the website owner for every click that his advertisement gets from the site. We have seen banner ads or display ads popping up on website and search engines that are related to our keyword search.

If a user then goes on to click the advertisement, the company that posted the ad will have to pay the host website for posting the ad and getting the click.

How Effective Is The PPC Model?

If managed properly, the PPC model can be very effective and give amazing results. Through this model you can immediately reach the target audience. Its reach is immense and if planned properly, you can get great results even with small investments in PPC. However, the higher the investment in this model, greater will be the visibility and thus more traffic inflow.

The results from your PPC plan can be gauged very quickly, as traffic starts flowing immediately to your website through your ads.

What Are Benefits Of The PPC Model?

Before finally deciding if this model can be effective for a business, let us understand its different benefits:

  • PPC being an advertising medium, the key benefit is visibility.
  • As it is a targeted advertisement platform, there is minimal wastage. The ad reaches the audience who are already searching for product or information related to your keywords.
  • The turnaround time of this kind of advertisement is almost instantaneously. An effective ad banner will create a lead instantly which is not possible through the traditional mediums of advertisement.
  • As you pay for only the clicks, so there is no wastage. Your outflow of money is directly proportional to the inflow of traffic into your website.
  • By using the call tracking mechanism, wherein a call gets directed to the user, we can convert the potential lead into instant sale.
  • By remarketing, ads can be displayed to people who had visited the site on an earlier occasion. These are people who have earlier shown an interest in your product and reinforcement could lead to sale.
  • As the effectiveness on your PPC plan can be instantly gauged, you can tweak your plan to get the highest returns from your investment.

Pay per Click is a powerful tool that can give instant results, if planned properly. Although it can be a costly medium, but the returns will far surpass the investments. Once the traffic flows towards your website, it is then the effectiveness of your website that can generate sales.

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Four Types of Marketing For Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you most likely spend quite a large amount of time trying to discern new ways to gain customers. Marketing can be a fun or stressful business. They key is to understand the types of marketing.

Instead of sending your marketing budget in many different directions, you can choose a specific type and be consistent with it. You will quickly see that your marketing budget pays off much more quickly.

Here, you will find information on four of the main types of marketing. This way, you will be able to choose the marketing actions that will work best for your business. You will then be able to point your marketing budget in the right direction.

1. Blanket marketing is a type that is often used by larger business. Blanket marketing means that you spend money advertising to everyone. Many people choose to do blanket marketing by advertising in magazines or newspapers. You will not really have control of who sees your advertising, but you will have the potential to reach many people.

The downside to blanket marketing is that it can be quite expensive, and you could be wasting money marketing to people who may never become your customers at all. Blanket marketing is best for those who have plenty of funds available and who feel that they will be able to gain many customers from the plan.

2. Targeted marketing is a method in which you choose a certain demographic and only market to them. This could mean that you advertise to everyone in a certain area. Alternatively, you could advertise to everyone in a certain age range.

The great thing about targeted marketing is that you will have a much better chance at getting customers since you will be advertising to the types of people who would most likely become customers. The downside is that it will take a little legwork to determine who your target is and then find the right way to advertise to them.

3. Social media marketing could be called the new kid in town since it is relatively a young concept. With this marketing, you use any one of the many popular social media sites to advertise your company. You can also use a daily blog to garner business.

The downside to this type of marketing is that you will be sending your information out to many people who may not be interested at all. With blogs, you will have to take the time to keep the blog up to date. Otherwise, people may stop reading it.

4. The last type of marketing is not marketing at all. There are not upsides to this. It may seem like a way to save money, but when your business fails, you will actually lose a great deal of money. It is extremely important to find marketing funds within your budget.

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Where Does Advertising Fit Into the Marketing Mix?

Many people get confused about the role of advertising in the marketing mix so here’s a simple view of where it fits in.

In the traditional marketing model, we talk about the 4 P’s

o Product

o Pricing

o Place

o Promotion

The last section – Promotion is what we mean when we say you are “doing your marketing”. It’s your communications or your actual marketing activities.

But first, let’s get clear about the PURPOSE of marketing and why you want to get good at it.

“The PURPOSE of marketing or it’s biggest task is to

persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you

can present your offer. Done well they come waving their

credit card and ready to buy so there’s no need for hard sell.”

Whenever and wherever you get in front of your potential market is your marketing opportunity – you are communicating or getting your message across.

You could say this started as far back as Babylon when the Town Crier was the only delivery method! They went around town shouting out to people to go to the marketplace and you went to the marketplace with your goods to “present your offer”.

With the invention of print and other technologies you now have a smorgasbord of delivery methods or media to reach people such as

o Print – newspapers, magazines, catalogues, newsletters

o Phone, mail, fax

o Radio & TV,

o Internet – through websites, blogs, social networking sites, email, video & Audio podcasts

o Teleseminars & webinars

o Mobile media – Blackberrys and mobile or cell phones

o And lets not forget in person public speaking and networking

Now that range adds a level of complexity. But choice is good and you don’t have to use all of these but they are available to you.

In any event you’ll either be speaking or writing. Simply narrow down what makes sense for you and your business and use your strengths to work out a plan.

JUST remember the marketing principles remain the same no matter the medium – so the PURPOSE of your marketing is still the same. To persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you can present your offer.

So where does advertising fit into this?

Advertising is simply a subset of your marketing activities it’s the SALES function when you make the sales pitch or “present your offer”. This could be verbal or written in all the same media you use for your marketing communications. What adds to the confusion is sometimes big companies use image based ads for awareness so the “sales pitch” isn’t obvious.

But the primary purpose of advertising is to SELL.

So you create ads in one form or another and get them in front of your audience.

Small businesses can’t afford to waste money on image advertising that is designed for the masses to promote a well known brand. It simply isn’t designed to sell, NOW.

What I do and recommend is Direct Marketing which is based on one-on-one relationships and uses proven direct response advertising techniques instead of mass advertising.

The purpose of a direct response advertisement is to get a response, NOW! Which means these ads actually ask the prospect to DO something.

Whether you’re building a list, selling a product or service, an appointment or even something you are giving away – you still need to “sell” it to your prospect. And ask them to take the action you want them to take to move them through the sales process.

In a nutshell, advertising is a subset of marketing and direct response marketing and advertising is the champion for small business.

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Starting a Carpet Cleaning Business – Marketing and Advertising

Starting a carpet cleaning business can seem simple to many individuals, but as with any business venture for the entrepreneur marketing and advertising can be a make or break. Here are a few helpful tips for marketing and advertising your new carpet cleaning business.

Marketing and advertising is one of the most critical parts of a successful carpet cleaning business. To begin with advertising and marketing can be done through some of the old stand-bys such as a classified ads paper. The classified ads paper is the popular little magazine that many grab on their way out of any large grocery store to the small mom and pops convenience stores. A simple ad placement here can cost as little as $7 to $14 dollars a week and be a solid start to getting noticed by all those individuals looking for products and services on a budget.

The Yellow Book of course is an old friend for many entrepreneurs out there. The cost will usually be more than the cost of the classified ads, but this medium has been around and still used, although not as often today, but it is still a good way to be found quickly. Having a large ad as you will see later in this article, will actually not be as effective as most would like, but simply having your name in the Yellow Book should be a must on your list of places for marketing.

The newspaper has always been the place to be for many, many decades. Today however, those who used to fight for the T.V. guide space no longer find this as appealing as it once was due to technology and the power of cable. Today it might be better to be towards the opinion pages, sports pages and even in the local community section of the paper itself. Although all these mediums are great stand-bys, there has never been anything as cost effective and powerful as what comes next.

The Internet, when it comes to marketing and advertising for the carpet cleaning business this medium has been passed up for the most part. Some looking to the Internet believe that it is an expensive and confusing land of the lost, but this is not so. This medium for marketing and advertising is the most powerful and cost effective of any medium ever invented. There is no need for spending thousands for serious and deeply involved websites for the carpet cleaner this can be done with a simple blog hosted for less than $10 dollar a month. Learning how to use this medium only comes with a small investment and tax-write-off for a simple education in Internet marketing. The yellow book, newspaper and classified ads are giving way to Dex online, Craiglist and a simple blog with solid marketing pointing the way.

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Marketing and Advertising – Similarities and Differences

Small business owners tend to confuse marketing and advertising as the same thing. Advertising is a very important component of marketing but not the same. Marketing is the process of creating customer interest in products and services. Marketing generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication and business development. Marketing is the whole package and advertising is a component.

Advertising is an important element of the marketing strategy and probably the most expensive. Advertising is about sending messages about a company, its products and services. Advertising also includes putting together a series of methods to target viewers and interest them in becoming customers. Advertising includes placing ads, deciding what media to use, the frequency and the time the ad will run. Different types of media are used to distribute the ads. TV, direct mail, newspaper, Internet, emails, radio, magazines, text messages, flyers, billboards, etc. are among the different media used to distribute ads. Different media for different businesses, not all media is for everyone.

Advertising is simply a part of the marketing mix. The other parts include product research, product design, media planning, public relations, product pricing, customer satisfaction, customer support, and the list goes on and on. All these elements work independently but they all work towards achieving the goals and objectives set by the company, sell products or services and build market reputation. Advertising alone will not produce results and copying what others are doing will certainly fail. What works for some does not necessarily mean that it will work for others.

Advertising is not effective if proper research was not followed. Research is the understanding of needs and expectations of the clients. Designing of the product comes next and can be time consuming. Followed by advertising and sales. Marketing puts everything together as it creates strategies to succeed.

Advertising can become very expensive and worthless if not done properly and if important steps are not followed. Branding is important, but a logo does not guarantee sales, a logo represents the values and the reputation of a company and it takes time to build and to be recognized. Small business owners have to first invest time and money in knowing their clients, finding out their expectations and educating them. After getting to know their clients and building aggressively a database then they should engage in advertising and promoting their products and services. A complete marketing campaign will in this way be successful and generate sales.

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The Critical Importance of Recreation For Senior Citizens

As our population ages, there is increasing emphasis on teaching and learning lifelong recreational skills. Research has shown that recreation is an important part of an individual’s social behavior. Recreation plays a critical role in the lives of older adults by contributing to an improved quality of life. People who participate in recreational activities as senior citizens report significantly more life satisfaction than those who do not.

Physical recreation is especially important. Engaging in physical activity reduces almost every risk of disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes. Participation in recreational activities improves mental health, as well. Again, research shows that older individuals who participate in recreational activities have better coping behaviors in response to stressful life events and daily frustrations. They learn that social support is important, and available, through these activities.

Unfortunately, we have come to view our older years as a time of diminishing activity and social interaction. As a result of these expectations, aging folks often assume they are incapable of recreational activity or that it will not be available to them. They often cite scarce financial resources, lack of transportation or declining health as reasons for avoiding these important activities. Although there is some validity to these concerns, we often overlook the increasing resources that are being dedicated to wellness among senior citizens. Some of these resources are:

  • Travel programs. Fees are usually required, but deep discounts for seniors are often available.
  • Volunteering. Seniors bring valuable experience, wisdom and compassion to others
  • Elderhostel. A world-wide travel program bringing affordable adventure and learning to seniors
  • Theme parks. Senior days! Special entry fees!
  • Entertainment and arts. Museum and theatre tours often provide discounts and transportation to seniors
  • Local parks and recreation programs. Great outdoor activities
  • Community Gardening. Check with your local parks and recreation office
  • Senior citizen centers. Free or reduced price meals and more!
  • Book clubs. Reading and socialization are a potent therapeutic combination for the brain

It is important for senior citizens and those who care for them to seek out recreational activities even at this time when they may be reluctant to do so. Research indicates that seniors who participate in these kinds of activities tend to remain active once they begin.

Western cultures sometimes view their aging populations as economic and social liabilities. In fact, when they are nurtured, they become assets. Recreational activities can provide help and motivation that seniors require to enable them to contribute their valuable time and wisdom in return for that nurturance.

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Royal Caribbean Vs Regent: Choosing a Contemporary or Luxury Cruise

Since the cruise market emerged in the 1970s, options for a vacation have grown. Do you stick with a standard, or “contemporary,” cruise? Or, do you take advantage of all-inclusive package deals offered by luxury liners? Or, as river cruises are now a popular option, do you prefer the slower trip that spends more time in each port?

Essentially, the choice all comes down to the traveler – the type of trip and features he or she wants. Nevertheless, contemporary and luxury liners both have advantages.

Contemporary Cruises

While not the first liner, Royal Caribbean embodies the contemporary cruise. This particular brand consists of more than 20 ships, including two of the largest in the world, and also encompasses Celebrity Cruises as its upscale traveling experience.

Royal Caribbean’s larger ships mirror the amount of activities contemporary cruises offer. Baseline activities and entertainment covers spas for relaxation, gyms and other recreation facilities, evening shows, nightclubs, and multiple onboard restaurants. The sheer possibilities resulting from such combinations have created the “freestyle cruising” experience, one that, beyond the standard features of a ticket price and itinerary, a traveler can create alone.

Larger ships, as well, have resulted in expanding activities on board. Beyond the basics, a contemporary cruise may include nightclubs for all ages, restaurants for a larger range of taste buds, rock climbing walls and other high-level recreation options, and multiple slides and water activities.

The variable, freestyle, or a la carte cruise experience is often within the budget of many travelers and extends past activities. Such a cruise, be it in a Royal Caribbean or other contemporary ship, involves rotational or open dining, rather than the fixed schedule of years past.

Additionally, contemporary cruises are said to have more family-friendly features on board, be it activities and dining specifically for children or even child care run by experienced professionals.

Luxury Cruises

If Royal Caribbean liners represent the contemporary cruising experience, Regent Seven Seas Cruise is the apex of the luxury market. Considered one of the top-rated cruise lines, Regent consists of a small fleet – just three ships – with each vessel holding 700 or fewer passengers. The experience onboard, however, is considered more spacious and lavish, with personal service and gourmet food a top priority.

Part of luxury travels is the educational experience. Aside from excursions in each port, as well as trips going to less-traveled destinations, luxury cruises often include lectures and demonstrations, as well as other enrichment opportunities.

An aspect of Regent and other luxury cruises is all-inclusive deals. Tickets, while priced higher, cover the cost of not only food, a stateroom, access to pools and gyms, and entertainment, but also complimentary beverages, tours at ports, airfare, and hotel stays.

Travelers should keep in mind that luxury cruises are typically geared toward adults. Although activities may be on board for children, the full experience is designed with the adult traveler in mind.

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